Monday, September 26, 2016

Death and Art... a dream.

I just woke up a few minutes ago and I just want to put this down on paper to keep it on my mind.
The dream started with my wife and I visiting a old Victorian house that a local artist owned, we were on some kind of tour of the place and the inside was amazing. The artist paintings were all over and were fantastic a mixture of pre-raphaelite paintings done in a kind of colorful cartoon like style.  They were all in gold gilded antique frames and I wanted to own all of them.  I met the artist and he was young, gay, man with the style of HP Lovecraft.  the dream seems to flash forward in the future and I return to the house. From what I was told the artist had killed himself and his old mother was selling off all of his things, I walked through the house and all of the belongings were being sold off except for the paintings.  The  Mother was destroying them with spray paint, erasing all of the images of her son from them.  One painting that I remembered, I picked up and saw that spray paint had destroyed it and I started to cry, I ran to the Mother and begged her to give me the rest of the paintings so that I could save them for the future and that I would protect them with my life.  I explained that I was poor but I would make sure that they got the proper attention that should have... she refused.  I then woke up. 

I really don't know what this means but now I just can't get the images of these paintings and that house out of my head.  What does death mean to an artist?  Why do we care?

So now I'm forced to do those paintings...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ah, the battle for time.

It took a really long time but I feel that I am finally getting somewhere with my artwork.
I’ve been taking time to work on my sketching, drawing every day like I use to. Right now I’m just doodling trying to get my legs back under me, trying to remember my old techniques. I’ve also been looking at life drawing and figure sketching again. I’m also trying different things with my ink work, looking towards Moebius as a new technique to review and master.

 I’m just running into a problem with time, I using all of my free time relaxing from my hectic work week and also entertaining my wife. When I finally do put some time into my work I’m a little burnt out. It’s funny, but when I’m working from my office and I have some free time this is where I seem to have the most luck with my drawings. I’m not really sure why but hey it’s working…
Chaos Warrior done in the style of Moebius.

The idea is keep on drawing, keep on making art. It’s the only way I can back to where I was and improve. Just keep moving forward, just keep the creativity flowing…

Here are a few things I’ve been working on.

Just some pen work and line practice : Onion Lady.
A small sketch while listening to Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree
A sketch working on the Moebius pen work I want to master.
Another Chaos Female sketch.

More work coming soon, Cartoonist, Artist, still need to discover what kind of artist I am. - Cheers

Monday, September 19, 2016

Clip-art Studio / Manga studio – A fast way to get stuff done.

So I’m designing a D&D character for a friend and wanted to the work done fast so I could get to other pieces that I had to complete for a show coming up. So I decided to give Clip-art a go and see what all the fuss is all about.
Here’s the design layer for my “elf” I have a few photo references I’m working with and I am pretty happy with the design. 


The color stage trying to teach myself blending with the Flat Oil Brush. 

The finale piece for now, I might do so more work on this later.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Finding friends…. a small story.

One of the greatest things about the Internet is how easy it is to find lost friends. In the last few days I’ve been swapping emails with a friend of mine from England who’s known me for almost 37 years. Laurence is a person I met when I was a 17 year old ghetto kid back in the program that was called “The Fresh Air fund”. The Fresh Air fund was an organization that sends poor city kids to camp in upstate New York. I had the pleasure of being a camp counselor back in the day with this organization and it had a sister organization called Camp America which brought youths from Europe to work in the same camps for the summer. I met quite a few people during that summer but Laurence and I became great friends.

Laurence is an artist just like me but he had the privilege to go to university for art. We spent many hours talking about art, music, and life in general. One of my fondest memories of Laurence is the time we had to hike 15 miles through the woods to teach our little ghetto kids all about nature. It was pretty much hell, and at the end of the hike a huge thunderstorm hit the woods. The only cover we had was plastic sheeting; both Laurence and I sat on the floor, tired, wet, and filthy. I looked at Laurence and smiled and started singing the tune “I’m singing in the rain”, the kids that we were watching just looked at us like we were crazy but we just kept on singing and giggling.


Over the years we made an effort to keep in contact, but sometimes things get lost and you just loss contact. Over the last 30 years I’ve written to him about 4 or 5 times an average of about once every 6 years but it has been a long time since I have thought about him. One night I was working on a painting listening to Pink Floyd when I started thinking about Laurence again. We spent many a night talking about that Band, Laurence telling me all about the complexities of the Album “The Wall” and World War 2 in England.

So I jumped on to Facebook and did some searching. Low and behold I did find him; I sent a personal message and BINGO we reached each other again. So now we two old guys will discuss life, art, love, music, and our lasting friendship over the sea and through the sands of time.

Thank you Internet.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Thinking about Nick.....

A photo posted by James Jakaal Rios (@slobberblood) on
I didn't think I could have more respect for Nick Cave and his artistry, but here I am absolutely floored and dumbfounded by the reality he and his family have had to endure. Whether a fan of his or not, this meditation on grief is one of the most profound cinematic and musical experiences you can endure in a long while. “I used to think that when you died you kind of wandered the world... but I don’t think that anymore.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Thinking again.


Why do I feel like this is going to be my last couple of years?  Is the specter of doom hanging over my head or am I just having another series of anxiety attacks?  Next Wednesday I’m going to be 54, and the way it works in men,  that means that the first two thirds of my life are over.  I just feel like I have to do something great before I die.  Create something that’s going to be remembered forever, something that’s going to say I was here and I was an artist.  I’ve been working on my artwork and it’s OK, but nothing really strikes me as fantastic.  I just feel like I don’t have enough time, I mostly work and when I get home the only thing that I can do is just defuse the stress.  It’s funny with all the distractions in the world it’s almost impossible to stay focus on your projects.  I can see why a lot a famous artist’s just seal themselves away so they can internalize and get their work out there.  How does a low middle class man get his mind sealed off and get the juices flowing some that the art can come screaming out into existence? I just have to work out a way to concentrate on my work,
I need to get off the grid, 
I need to unplug. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

More Star Wars Assault Figures.

The Full Crew

Sand People

Better Angle Sand People

A closer look
In other news:
Vegfest – Bethlehem

So we did go to Veg-fest in Bethlehem on Saturday.  We got there around 10:45 just before the heat really started going.  We brought $40 bucks in cash thinking that would be enough (We were wrong) Vegan treats was there and we spent $10 on 2 brownies, they were amazing but I kept on flashing back to Vincent Vega and the $5 Shake from Pulp Fiction.  The rest of the food was amazing including a Vegan Grilled Cheese and Falafel.  

There was a NYC food truck there but the line was insane and Paula and I wanted their food but the crazy heat and the $13.50 price tag for their sandwiches was just too much.  We donated a huge amount of our allowance to Animal sanctuaries that were there including a Beagle and Pig Saving group.  After three hours my poor little redheaded, Pale, Gothy, Wife started to melt so we got Ice Coffees and went home.  

Not a bad trip, but maybe they should move that to October?  Just saying….

Monday, August 15, 2016

More Blood Rage figures completed and some Star Wars Assault

The last band from the Box set.

Beware the woman scorned...

A female warband of man killers
Heavy Troopers completed 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thoughts and thoughts....

The past bubbles up like a tar pit to drag me down once again, why can’t I just let go of the past?  I’m always rethinking what I should have done, that I should have had an action plan of some sort.  I’m always running down the road of “what if” ideas.  It’s too late, it’s all done, just get on with your life.  I have to remember that I have three beautiful children who are amazing adults.  

That I am still alive even though most of the people I knew in the ghetto are dead or in Prison.  That I have achieved more than my parents before me.  But I’m barely making a leaving now, I’m supporting myself, my wife, and four cats on my salary.  I’m just living paycheck to paycheck and kind of just surviving day to day.  So did I win this game of life I am leading? Yes, I think so, I did the family thing and nobody died.  

Even though I really never took care of myself I’m still kicking, I have an amazing wife who loves me and takes care of me, so that’s what’s really important.  But Lately I’ve been feeling like a real loser and I hate that.  I just want provide my small family with the best life I can and I feel like that’s not happening right now.  Hence the traveling back to the past where I stay in school, where I take those good jobs, where I take my art seriously, Ugh my head just keeps on spinning. 
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